How to Explain Paganism to Your Friends

Hey Heathens!

So, as some of you know, I am a Pagan. For those of you who don’t know, Paganism is a polytheistic, nature-based religion. I absolutely love it, and it is a huge part of my life. However, I often get questions from my friends about it, and I wanted to write a blog post about how to explain Paganism to your friends.

First of all, it is important to remember that Paganism is not a monotheistic religion like Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. We believe in multiple gods and goddesses, or sometimes none at all. This is probably the biggest thing that sets us apart from other religions.

  1. So, what is Paganism?
  2. What are some of the main beliefs of Paganism?
  3. What are some of the main practices of Paganism?
  4. What is Paganism NOT?
  5. So, how do I explain all of this to my friends?

So, What is Paganism?

 

First of all, it is important to remember that Paganism is not a monotheistic religion like Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. We believe in multiple gods and goddesses, or sometimes none at all. This is probably the biggest thing that sets us apart from other religions.

The term Pagan originates from the Late Latin paganus, which was used at the end of the Roman Empire to name those who practiced a religion other than Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. In Latin, paganus originally meant “country dweller”. Likely a name given because Christianity spread more quickly in cities and the people further from the city were less likely to convert.

What are Some of the Main Beliefs of Paganism?

Pagan being a Nature first belief system has its heart deep in the respect of nature to a level of almost worship up to absolute worship of the elements of nature. Most of the gods and goddesses described in pagan pantheons are aspects of nature.

(Some of these had other duties, but I am only naming those relevant to this point, because I know someone will have something to say about it.)

  • Thor – God of Thunder & Weather
  • Ra – Sun god
  • Eostre – Goddess of Spring

Other gods were representations of human nature

  • Freyja – Goddess of Love and War
  • Odin – God of Wisdom
  • Goibhniu – God of weapon-makers and Blacksmiths

What are some of the main practices of Paganism?

Again, as a nature-first religion, most pagans often practice outside under the sun, moon, or stars. They practice in forests or in clearings. One key similarity with most pagans is that they honor the cycle of the year and a cycle of birth, life, growth, death, and again rebirth. Many of their holidays, sabbats, blots, etc take place at key astronomical points of the year such as:

  • Moon Phases
  • Summer or Winter Solstice
  • Spring or Autumn Equinox
  • Planting and Harvesting
  • Birth & Death

What is Paganism NOT?

  • Paganism is not devil worship. Most pagans don’t believe in the devil or even believe in the concept of an all-evil being.
  • Paganism isn’t about human sacrifice. Many religions, including the Abrahamic, included human sacrifice at one time. Not any longer.
  • Paganism is not about hedonism (the pursuit of pleasure and self-indulgence). Most pagans take a conservative approach to life in order to not upset any balance.

So, how do I explain all of this to my friends?

Calmly. But only explain it to friends/family if they ask or if their knowing is important and necessary. I believe in normalizing pagan beliefs to where we aren’t seen as a taboo, but simply a part of society.

Be prepared to answer questions to explain what paganism is and isn’t. Keep an open conversation.

If you’re interested in Paganism but don’t know where to start, check out the podcast. It outlines some of the basics of Paganism, including its history and beliefs. Additionally, it provides resources for further study. Also check out the Discord Server for a drama-free community of pagans sharing beliefs and practices. So if you’re ready to learn more about Paganism, follow the links in this article and check out the resources provided on this site.